Japan Holiday: Kyoto Cooking Class & Tour

The last time Jim and I were in Kyoto was during our honeymoon in February 2015. It was also when I first experienced snow. It fell right as we stepped outside after our cooking class. It’s definitely filed under “core memory” in my brain.

As we had such a wonderful experience then, we wanted to take a Japanese cooking class with the family this time around!

Since we were staying in Osaka, the agency arranged for a van to drive us the whole day for our Kyoto trip. It was about an hour away so we took a nap going there.

The cooking class we attended is called Cooking Sun and I highly recommend it especially for groups!

Dried fish parts

Dried fish (they looked and felt like wood) makes what’s called DASHI. It’s the base used for many soups including miso! According to our teacher, it unlocks umami — the fifth taste. There’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. It’s a kind of brothy, meaty taste.

Bonito flakes are made from the dried fish as well

We started with the tamago or Japanese fried egg. Jim and I learned this when we took our first cooking class so I was pretty confident.

In fact, I was overconfident I kind of burned my egg hehehe. No pictures. Nakakahiya. LEL.


Preparing the spinach salad dressing
Spinach Samurai draining the spinach
Mixing it in with the dressing
Oh, I didn’t see you there
This is just really how I cook……
Consulting the recipe bec I don’t know what tf I’m doing

Now for sushiii

Nunki helping with the sushi rice. It’s made with rice vinegar!
Look at that cute Japanese girl watching
Papa Gerry and his fans

Leave 3 fingers space on top and 1 finger space at the bottom

Sige lang, girl
Kaya mo yan
Sabi sayo kaya mo yan eh
~*p e r f e c t *~

And I finally learned how to make chicken teriyaki. It’s just soy sauce, sake, and sugar.

We learned how to straighten the shrimp out so it’s ready for tempura

In this photo I’m about to snort some cocaine LOLJK I think that’s baking powder so that the batter will stick to the food
Pinapakialaman nanaman ako ni ate gurl… CHAROT. She was so nice and helpful, okay??

OMG I MADE EVERYTHING IN THIS BENTO BOX. Still very proud of myself hehe.

We had a nice lunch with the family upstairs and our bento boxes were soooo filling. Jim’s dad enjoyed so much that he plans to have a night where he prepares the same dishes at home for us! Maybe this weekend!:)

After the wonderful cooking class, it was time to take a trip around Kyoto! I recommend our driver George and our lovely tour guide Keiko! I am not sure how you can book them but George e-mailed me directions to some places (he’s SO helpful) and I have his e-mail address if you’re interested in hiring a driver for your tour in Osaka/Kyoto!

Our first stop was to check out the famous Golden Pavilion

It was originally the retirement villa of the shogun Yoshimitsu until his death in 1408 when it became a zen temple. It burned down several times in history but the most recent one was in 1950 when a monk burned it down and tried to commit suicide right after. He survived and went to jail for seven years before being released for a diagnosed mental illness. Very interesting, I think there’s a book about it. Aha! A quick Google search says it’s called The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. 4 stars on GoodReads.com! Hmmm maybe it should be one of the books I read this year. Anyway, going back: the pavilion standing today was rebuilt in 1955.

Sweet/terrifying moment
“Humans, stop burning down stuff”
Oh yeah, we bought Huaraches the day before heehee

Cute little ducks
And a brief sighting of a rare selfie stick
And a fierce orange-red winged creature makes an appearance (lovette)


Did anyone ask for a blurry family pic? Well here ya go!

And then we went to a little shopping district called Kiyomizu-michi. There’s also a temple there but we did not go anymore because Nunki fell asleep in the van and papa Gerry offered to stay with her while the girls looked around for 20 minutes. Our guide Keiko told us about a Ghibli store and I made a beeline for it!

Sure hope that sign doesn’t say DON’T TOUCH

Best purchase from our recent Japan trip: a No-Face coin bank ✨ #spiritedaway #ghibli

A photo posted by Saab Magalona-Bacarro (@saabmagalona) on

Matcha soy ice cream!

We were all very tired and it was already night time when we got back to Osaka. We decided to just find a restaurant near the hotel for dinner. Osaka is very different from Tokyo in that it’s more difficult to find a place to eat if you’re not from there. Once again, it was hard to find a place for 7 people and we ended up at a Korean barbecue place. They had no English menu and no English speaking staff so I tried my Google Translate app. The funny thing is that the waitress couldn’t understand what I was showing her and then I realized she was Japanese and I was translating Korean phrases!! Haha! Once we figured it out, we just typed in BEEF, CHICKEN, BEER. Hahaha! The food was great.

A few more Japan Holiday blogs to go! Hope you’re having a great 2nd week of the year!!!


JAPAN HOLIDAY: Matsusaka Beef in Osaka

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Matsusaka Beef.

We rode a bullet train to Osaka from Tokyo on the 29th and though it was my second time to ride a shinkansen (Japanese for bullet train), it was my first time to ride a “green car.” It’s equivalent to an airplane’s business class. Well, they don’t exactly serve unlimited champagne but it’s fairly nicer than the regular car. There’s more leg room and the chairs are more comfortable.

They even had sockets on the armrest, that’s why I was able to blog while on the train. I didn’t notice if the ordinary car had it. I would recommend it for longer travels like Tokyo to Osaka (4 hours), but if it’s a shorter one like Tokyo to Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort (1.5 hours) the ordinary car is more than fine!

We checked in to our hotel, Sheraton Miyako, and they had this little store called “DRUGS”


The teenagers (TEENAGERS???) stayed on the 11th floor and our rooms looked (and smelled) a little old. Our parents stayed on the 7th floor and their room looked much newer, FYI! On our last night, I found a medium-sized cockroach on our bed. Not kidding. It was a good thing I wasn’t lying down yet. We switched rooms and, in all fairness, the staff was very helpful and walang hanash in moving us. We only had about 3 hours before waking up so we didn’t have any other choice. Overall I wouldn’t recommend the hotel because, well, there was a fucking cockroach on our bed. Thanks, travel agency for your recommendation.😷

Anyway, I didn’t know that was going to happen yet so after checking in, we all went to the famous Shinsaibashi shopping street to — you guessed it — shop!

And I went ahead and caught some Pokémon along the way.

I finally caught Pikachu, btw, and he was wearing a Santa hat huhu.

Cute 8-bit tableware!!

Didn’t have much time before our dinner reservation so I checked with the store owners and luckily, Shinsaibashi would be open on the 31st so we could just go back!

We walked to our restaurant, Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M which was just a few minutes’ walk.

Our travel agency pre-ordered the set Premium menu for us and it was simply the best dinner I had all year.

I didn’t know this was just the appetizer. It tasted SO GOOD.
More appetizers
Beef sushi!!! It was wonderful!!!

After dinner we met up with our friend Raf who was also there for the holidays. We recommended our favorite bar, Fanny Mae, where the owner only plays his CD collection. He’s a big Rolling Stones fan and it’s quite obvious when you see the place.

Fanny Mae is the coolest
Jim, me, my enormous holiday cheek, and Raf
Heading out with Raf’s sister and her friends to get Strong Zero at Family Mart hehehe
Japan drunk is the best kind of drunk

We woke up with massive headaches the following day because we were so dehydrated. I think that helped in my 2017 resolution to lessen drinking as much as I can. It really makes me bloated and my productivity is highly affected the following day. My plan is to go cold turkey on beer, and only drink gin, scotch, vodka, or wine maybe once a week or even twice a month! Nothing’s set in stone yet. I may regret posting this on my blog for everyone to see. Hahaha. We’ll see where the year takes me!


Japan Holiday: Tokyo Afternoon Tour

As I said, we went drinking the night before and I cried my eyes out when I learned of Carrie Fisher’s passing.

And as promised – here’s the selfie I took that morning.

Saab MAGAlona

So I pretty much just wore shades the whole day haha!

Out to get some katsu for lunch
With a bundled up Nunki

Headed out for an afternoon tour of Tokyo. It’s best to do these tours when you’re with senior citizens because the transportation is taken care of. But if you don’t mind walking and would like to go around without a set time limit for each place, I would suggest creating an itinerary on your own and just getting a pamphlet or researching about the place beforehand.

Our first stop was at the beautiful Hama-Rikyu Gardens.

This guy was peacefully drawing an old shogun villa

There’s a 300-year old black pine tree by the entrance and it’s gorgeous. That’s as much as I learned from the tour guide because we stayed back to take photos and selfies wahahahaa the place was so pretty kasi, okay?? And ang daming ibang pinoy sa tour referring to the huge crows as “PATO” nakakaloka.

Jim was tripping out on the portrait setting of his new phone
Love it

<3[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16858" align="aligncenter" width="900"] This little hipster!
Buckaroos exploring

Next stop: a river cruise! We passed plenty of bridges. And, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend a river cruise because you barely see anything!

Not our boat – I didn’t get to take a photo of our boat haha
Landian on the streets

Next stop: Asakusa – well-known to be a big tourist spot. There’s plenty of shopping stalls and there’s a big temple.

The family split up: Jim and I visited the temple while the rest shopped.

I freaked out because there were swastikas on the incense!! Everybody knows it’s the symbol used by Nazis so why was it on the incense?? If I got hit by the smoke, would it taint my purity? AM I EVEN PURE?????

A quick Google search that night revealed that it did not originate from the Nazis of Germany:

The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being.” The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Neolithic Eurasia, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky. To this day it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Odinism.

You can read more about how a sign of good luck became a symbol for evil on this website.

But I didn’t do that Google search on the spot so Jim and I decided to get some cream cheese puffs and walk around instead. We needed to get away from what we thought was the evil swastika incense.

What did I tell you about signs everywhere in Japan? Love it

Although the actual tour was overall mediocre, I still count myself lucky because I was in the presence of our very cute Japanese tour guide. This was the only video I was able to take of her but OMG I LOVE HER.

She was SO CUTE I wanted to take her home. She would talk with her eyes closed, seemingly concentrating on how to translate her thoughts into English words.

We got off at Akihabara station and took a train to Otomesando for our dinner.

I guess we were really tired from our afternoon tour because I didn’t get to take photos of the food!!! But it was a yummy tempura/udon place. Am I the worst blogger or what.

We got dessert at a pretty café called Anniversaire Café also located in Omotesando

Tiramisu covered in mochi
Banana chocolate cake


And that concludes our last night in Tokyo! More Japan blogs to come! Right now I have to run errands and try to catch more MMFF movies because today’s the last day!!!

P.S. All photos were taken with an iPhone 7+ – no edits!



*Nope, Jim and I didn’t attend Family Values Tour. It’s just a title. Teehee. For the younger ones: Family Values Tour was a rock & hip-hop festival that started in 1998.

For our 3rd day in Tokyo, Jim and I made plans to meet up with my family who arrived in Tokyo the day before.

Before anything, here’s a little info about our Wi-Fi in Japan:

We always rent a portable Wi-Fi at the airport to stay connected while going around. This time it was a little complicated because we had landed in Tokyo Narita airport and we would be leaving from Osaka Kobe with a connecting flight from Tokyo Haneda airport. Basically, we couldn’t rent our Wi-Fi from Narita airport because we had to return it there, too. Thankfully, Chelo told me about possibly renting one online because she had done it before.

I visited this website and rented the SoftBank one because it has the best speed (187MBPS).

If you order before 4pm, they can deliver it on the same day. If not, you can get it the next day and even choose a time period in case you won’t be at home all day. It can be delivered to the airport, your AirBnB, or your hotel. I chose to have it delivered to our hotel but now that I learned about this, I’ll order one before flying out next time so I can just pick it up at the airport post office.

The net was super fast and the battery life was amazing. The website says battery life is 3-4 hours only but mine always lasted throughout the day because it goes to sleep when not in use. I used it for 6 days and paid ¥4,380 (Php 1,860.48). Between me and Jim, that’s just 900 bucks each for 6 days. If you’re traveling with a large group, you can share with them and split the cost because the Wi-Fi can connect up to 14 devices. To send it back, I just put it inside the envelope they provided and dropped it off at our hotel’s mailbox. There are mailboxes everywhere in Japan, so you can just drop it off at the airport before checking in for your flight.

I love Japan talaga. It was so easy to order the pocket Wi-Fi through their website!! Also, you would think you’d easily get lost because of the language barrier, but they are very tourist-friendly. There are English signs almost everywhere. If not in English words, they have pictures that you can easily understand. I honestly get lost more in Manila dahil yung mga signs natin nakatago sa puno na hindi tini-trim or sobrang liit ng sign kasi “nagtitipid.” Le sigh.


The plan was to have GoGo Curry (our fave) for lunch but, of course, they were 2 hours late. There was this whole drama because I’d finally had it with their disregard for other people’s time, etc, etc.

I also felt really bad because this was the first trip the family had without me and I know I need to get used to it because my ate Unna also misses out now that she’s married and has her own family. But I was very emotional because I had set aside time to be with them and I felt like they didn’t value me. Of course, after crying in the middle of the street and letting them have an earful, it was resolved after 10 minutes because they said sorry. It was nothing personal, duh, but I couldn’t help but feel bad. But I guess like Jim told me, boys just don’t have a clue most of the time.

Maxx’s flight was canceled so she wasn’t with them pa, meaning there was nobody to push them to hurry up. I forgive my mom entirely because she’s gone through this with 8 children and everybody in the group is almost an adult already so I can’t blame her if she’s sick of nagging them. The boys assured me they would be more considerate and sensitive. Crossing my fingers this is for real. Usually, at family get-togethers I’m just passive aggressive whenever they’re late. I’m just thankful I finally told them how I felt.

After they buried me in hugs and apologies, we spent some time at a designer ukay called BINGO.

This Champion x Vader sweater!!

I enjoy navigating everywhere. It’s like solving a puzzle for me. And I like puzzles.

Tried to take a quick selfie before the Shibuya crossing. Hahaha sorry, Frank. And where the heck is Clara??

Then we went to Village Vanguard and went shopping. I highly recommend the place for pasalubongs and cute stuff for yourself hehe.

Instax bag!! Great idea!
All the KitKat you’ll want
I bought this big off-white leather Anello bag and a smaller nylon black one.

I’d never heard of Anello before but I told my mom I wanted a black backpack. I also told her about how I’m thinking of investing in a Givenchy one like what Maxx has and mom told me I don’t need to splurge for a nice black backpack. Thanks for talking me out of it since I can just always borrow yours and Maxx’s stuff, mom. Hehehe.

I think Anello is a Japanese-made brand because it was EVERYWHERE there. I tried searching for it on Google and their homepage’s footer says:

Both Let’s make good company.

“Fun and Strongly”

So I guess that solves it. If the English doesn’t make sense but is poetic, it’s from Japan.

We went to meet Maxx at Ichiran in Shinjuku but when we got there, we were told that there was an hour and 20-minute wait. LOL. No thanks! So we called Maxx and told her to meet us at GoGo Curry across the street instead. I was just going to drop them off and say hi to Maxx but she and Rob got a little lost and I had to leave for dinner with the Bacarros already.

So we took this selfie instead

I’m so bummed I don’t have a nice photo with the fam huhuhu but it’s okay, I’m sure there will be more trips I can join!

Previously on The Bacarros: the kids offered to treat papa Gerry and mommy Bing for their 36th anniversary. Earlier in the day, ate Mia and Chelo told Jim and I that they had found a nice tempura place. But around 6pm, they messaged us that we should look for another place because that one always has a long waiting time pala! We didn’t think of making a reservation.

Japan’s restaurants are very tiny so it was very difficult for us to find anything at the last minute. Imagine a montage of us splitting up, asking restaurants if we could have dinner there and being rejected by all because they were fully booked. I think it was because of the holidays. Earliest they could give us was around 9pm! After almost an hour of searching, the parents were very gracious and they said what matters most is the company so we should just head back to the hotel and eat there.

As we were walking back to the hotel, we passed by a restaurant that Jim and I previously checked. They had cleared up and had a private room for all seven of us. YAY✨

Foodie in the making

We also asked if we could arrange for our real dinner treat the next day to make up for it! We asked our hotel concierge for help in making reservations. Hehe.

Because we missed Maxx and Rob that afternoon, we made plans to meet up. They were staying with Rob’s family just a block away from us.

We went to some random sushi restaurant, one of the few we passed that was still open. Of course the sushi was good. All sushi in Japan is good. We also ordered Matcha Highballs for all just to try it!

A highball is made of base spirit and a lot of non-alcoholic mixer. In this case it was Suntory Whisky and matcha green tea. Yum!

We couldn’t really find any bars or maybe we didn’t try enough. Jim and I just wanted Maxx and Rob to experience the power of Strong Zero. It’s a ready-to-drink canned cocktail that has 9% alcohol and 0% sugar. It gets you crazy drunk. Shout out to our friend Kyle who introduced it to us the last time we went to Japan.

So we ended up just standing in front of a Family Mart for 2 hours drinking Strong Zero and just talking. We also witnessed 2 drunk foreigners fighting because “one of them owed the other 60,000.” It was very intriguing so we tried to inconspicuously follow them to hear more. But we got scared and just went back to Family Mart. Hahaha.

Laki ng mukha ko dito. Please ignore even if I pointed it out just now. TNX

It was SO MUCH FUN, really.

My small black backpack! Jim took this photo as I was reaching for my power bank. I think this was the building beside Family Mart. Haha

Jim and I headed back home and got to bed around 3AM. When we turned on the TV, CNN reported that Carrie Fisher had passed away. It broke my heart and if I were sober I think I would have teared up at the loss of a heroine. But I was drunk and so I literally BAWLED for an hour before calming down and falling asleep. As in hagulgol level talaga. UGH. You’ll see what I mean when I blog about the following days. I took a photo when I woke up because exagge talaga. Thank you, Jim, for helping me calm down. Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher. I’m currently halfway through the last book she wrote, The Princess Diarist.



I wasn’t really planning on updating my blog while on vacation but I’m currently on a bullet train to Osaka from Tokyo and here I am typing away.

It’s probably because of this e-mail I got 2 days ago:

Short, sweet, direct to the point. So here you go: an unedited first draft of a blog post. I will not overthink this and there will be no pretty pictures. Not by choice but because after my super detailed packing list (see Instagram post below), I forgot to bring my fricking camera.

I don't like overpacking so I went a little overboard on my packing list ✨kulang pa yan, wala pa yung gadgets and chargers lelz.

A photo posted by Saab Magalona-Bacarro (@saabmagalona) on


So with the help of my phone (and Jim’s), let me update you guys on what we’ve done so far!

We spent Christmas eve with my family in Antipolo and got to Jim’s parents’ house at 2:30AM. Everybody was already asleep and after getting ready for bed and setting up Jim’s new phone (heehee), we fell asleep at around 3:30AM. Got up 2 hours later and left for the airport at 6AM. Spilled some coffee on my white shirt but finally we were on our plane to Tokyo.

Checked in at Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku and then had Christmas dinner at a nearby restaurant called Watami.

The next day was our ski trip at Gala Yuzawa!! We took a bullet train from Tokyo Station and it took a little over an hour to get there.


You can rent everything there: a jacket and a pair of pants to keep your clothes from getting wet if you fall down, goggles so you can see better because it’s very bright and the white snow makes it even brighter, ski shoes, skis, poles, etc. Our travel agency rented everything beforehand so we didn’t have to line up with everyone else.

Tried to make a funny pun on Instagram by captioning this “Goggle Translate”
But somebody didn’t get it :(
Chelo suggested the caption “SKILIKILI POWER” wahahahaa

“I’ll never break your heart” – can’t stop laughing at ate Mia’s glove placed right on the crotch hahahaha

We took lessons for beginners, it lasted an hour and a half but we learned all about the basics. IDK but I think I’m a natural……

That’s me trying to get back up after falling

Jim and I also went sledding with Nunki and it was the best!

Somebody photoshop these people out of our cute pic pls……..


The whole experience is definitely something to cross off my bucketlist and something I want to do again. Maybe next year with Maxx because I know she’s planning on skiing with Rob! I also want to try snowboarding next time!!!

When we got back to Tokyo, we decided on dinner at Ichiran.

In case you’re wondering what I like to get whenever I’m at Ichiran:

Ramen + boiled egg + seaweed
Flavor strength: strong
Richness: medium
Onions: green
Pork: YES, DUH
Spice level: 5
Noodles: extra firm

Awesome trip so far, I’ll try to update more later but right now I think I wanna squeeze in a quick nap on the train.

Thanks to the person who e-mailed me to update my blog more often. It was a push I needed. :)


Four Days in Paris: Day 4

Isha and I only had two main agendas for our last day in Paris: to visit the Monnaie de Paris and to have lunch with our friend Barbi Chan!



Monnaie de Paris was recommended by Mich Dulce who showed us some photos from the current exhibit. Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist born in 1960. If art is supposed to evoke emotion, then Cattelan definitely succeeds in his shocking displays.

Novecento, 1997 & Untitled, 2007
Novecento, 1997 & Untitled, 2007
La Nona Ora, 1999
La Nona Ora, 1999

La Nona Ora is among Cattelan’s most well-known works. The realistic wax statue of Pope John Paul II crushed by a meteorite forms part of an elaborate theatrical tableau. The stricken Pope, dressed in formal ecclesiastical gowns, and holding on to his ferule, lies prostrate on a broad, red carpet covering the whole Salon d’Honneur. Named for the time when Christ died on the cross, the dramatic image of physical suffering is a powerful vision, symbol of his duty and the burden that he weighs on his shoulders. The Pope is one of many authority figures that Cattelan has targeted in his practice, and the artist denies that La Nona Ora is specifically anti-Catholic. The papal figure is also the one of the father, and today Cattelan can “say that the pope is linked to (his) dad, the father figure, but the work didn’t come up that way. Initially my idea was closer to that which had brought me to explore safety deposit boxes, that is to say, to stage the contrast between power and vulnerability.” — Monnaie de Paris

Mini-Me, 1999
Mini-Me, 1999
Untitled, 2007
Untitled, 2007

“The non-traditional canine family structure is far more acceptable today than ever before.” — Inez and Vinoodh, Photographers

Untitled, 2001
Untitled, 2001

Though the mise-en-scène suggests that a burglary is afoot, the details are ambiguous: is Cattelan planning a theft or is he simply seeking a more direct relationship with the art by circumventing the institution’s structured viewing? In the latter interpretation, he offers visitors a fantasy of alternate access points, creating a surreptitious channel between what is outside and inside the exhibition and encouraging viewers to look with fresh eyes. Alternately, Cattelan self-consciously cast himself as an outsider, thief, or impostor amid established art history. This interpretation resonates with the recurring theme of anxiety in his work, illustrating the character who fell into the art world by chance. — Monnaie de Paris



Charlie Don't Surf, 1997
Charlie Don’t Surf, 1997

“I’m from the same generation as Maurizio Cattelan and, like him, I experienced an extremely coercive educational system with corporal punishment at its core. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ Teachers used to hit pupils every day: it was a common practice. When I was about 7 or 8, one of my classmates spat in the face of a teacher who had just hit him. This astonished us. We were on the side of power, and subscribed to the idea that the system could use violence to educate us. The teacher was just as surprised and shocked as we were. He took the necessary steps to have this boy removed from the school. Before his expulsion, the boy had been called in with his parents to make his apologies to the teacher in front of the whole class – which he refused to do when he arrived. It was unbelievable. So unsettling that I don’t even remember talking about it with the other pupils. We never saw our classmate again and I forgot his name. The teacher was called Mr. Le Soir. It wasn’t until years later that I understood that this child’s action had been heroic. He alone among us was not paralyzed in the face of power and violence. When I looked at Charlie Don’t Surf, this childhood memory naturally came back to me. In my memory, the boy became like Charlie, a small being who zealously refuses to bow down to the omnipotence of the order which nails him to the spot. I can’t be against Charlie Don’t Surf, I am against with him.” — Thomas Lenthal, Creative Director

Untitled, 2007
Untitled, 2007

Like a hunting trophy in reverse, the untitled work is also the antithesis of the typically heroic equestrian monument familiar to art history. Cattelan’s horse appears to have attempted a valiant leap, only to have been thwarted by the thick wall. Neither striking a spectacular pose nor making a successful escape from the exhibition, he is stuck in the liminal space in-between. Likewise, the horse seems suspended between life and death, his decapitation suggested but hidden from view. — Monnaie de Paris

All, 2007
All, 2007

“Marble does not hide” As a man, and all the more as a man of government, before All by Maurizio Cattelan, I can only feel dismay at those nine lives cut short, witness to the migrants’ tragedy, about which our generation will inevitablybe called to account by those to come. Marble does not hide, marble preserves. And art that narrates reality is not a provocation or an irreverence but a warning about what must be done. — Dario Franceschini, Ministry of culture and tourism of the Italian government


We, 2011
We, 2011

It’s a double self-portrait of the artist in bed with himself that relies on scale shifts, doubling, and theatrical presentation to present a surreal, psychological depiction. Wearing tailored suits and well-made but scuffed shoes, the similar, but not identical three-foot-tall likenesses lie on a small wooden bed covered with delicately embroidered bedding. Without touching, they stare blankly into space. The waxen quality of the faces is eerily lifeless, suggesting that the bodies are lying in wake. — Monnaie de Paris

Reminds me of the Death Cab for Cutie song, "Brothers on a Hotel Bed"
Reminds me of the Death Cab for Cutie song, “Brothers on a Hotel Bed”
Untitled, 2000
Untitled, 2000


“Everything I do has an autobiographical resonance, but I can’t control it.” – Maurizio Cattelan

Him, 2001
Him, 2001


An encounter with Him unravels as a carefully orchestrated sequence of recognition. Approaching from behind, the viewer sees the figure of a boy kneeling at the back of the gallery. Neatly dressed in a gray tweed jacket and britches, his hair dutifully combed down and his hands clasped in prayer, the diminutive form presents a model of submission of piety. But the instinctive feeling of tenderness engendered by the figure is dramatically overturned the moment his face is seen, revealing the unmistakable visage of Adolf Hitler. The sight of one of History’s most reviled figures reduced to the scale of a vulnerable child and posed in an attitude of apparent contrition sets up a tacit confrontation with the Catholic doctrine of absolution. — Monnaie de Paris

Untitled (Gérard), 1999
Untitled (Gérard), 1999

“Comedians manipulate and make fun of reality. Whereas I actually think that reality is far more provocative than my art.” – Maurizio Cattelan

One of my best trips to the museum! I really enjoyed reading all the written interpretations by different people from different fields. Time flew and we rushed to Le Servan to meet with Barbi.

Barbi looking so excited to see us! I was too since I hadn't seen her in YEARS!
Barbi looking so excited to see us! I was too since I hadn’t seen her in YEARS!
Sorry for the low-resolution, I'd already packed away my camera by this time. Used my phone for this one!
Sorry for the low-resolution, I’d already packed away my camera by this time. Used my phone for this one!

Le Servan’s chef, Ms. Levha, was born in Manila but raised in Paris. She describes her dishes as, “traditional French cuisine with a little Asian twist.”


Heading back to the hotel
Heading back to the hotel

Isha caught an earlier flight and Barbi stayed to keep me company while I waited for my ride to the airport. We talked about her fabulous life in Paris with her husband and cute new baby. It was great catching up!

Then it was time to go home!!

Even after an amazing trip, I have to admit I was looking forward to going home to Jim & Joey!



(Click here to read about Day 1) / (Click here to read about Day 2)

I was most excited for our third day in Paris and for good reason.

Dove has always believed that you are most beautiful when you are happy and comfortable with who you are. In order to remind women to be kind to themselves, they built a 178-square-meter store dedicated entirely to true beauty.

Together with select girls from all over the world, and some French press (the media, not the coffee 😜), I was truly lucky enough to be one of the very first to set foot inside the Dove Pop-Up Store.





The store carried a lot of exclusive beauty gift items perfect for the holidays!



I liked this little corner:


In English: Make beauty a source of confidence. 8 out of 10 girls give up important activities of their lives when they do not feel comfortable with their appearance. The Dove Project for Self-Esteem reached more than 20 million girls to help them gain self-confidence and develop a positive relationship to their appearance. Write a positive message about beauty you would share with a girl.


Reminder to self 👆🏻

Of course, we got so excited for the customization stations where we’d personalize our own beauty bars, creams, and more!


At this station, you can customize your own body lotion, body scrub, body wash, or body cream! We got our skin tested for moisture and I learned that I had extra dry skin because of the cold weather. I chose the body scrub!

Next, we select a scent! I said I wanted to smell sexy, so I chose the option “beauté irrésistible”


We were asked to choose ingredients ranging from coconut milk to apricot extract.


You could also add some shimmer!

The lady recommended sweet almond oil for my dry skin! To complete the srub, I chose kiwi seeds!

While waiting, I moved on to the personalized beauty bar station!


Check out all the pretty names (you’re gonna have to squint haha)!! Isha helped me pick possible names for my future child. Hahaha!

You’re given the difficult task of choosing which beauty bar you want to personalize: blue-green coconut, vanilla shea butter, or rose fig!


I chose shea butter!

We were to pick-up our products that same night at the launch party for the Pop-Up Store. In the meantime, we were off to our next personalized activity! YAY!


Maille Leo is a boutique that prides itself in customizing pieces for their customers!



We each got to choose a shirt and become dressmakers for a half hour as we put our personal touches!

Isha doing a modified #MannequinChallenge




Heehee! We’re waiting to receive our finished shirts any day now in the mail ☺️

Next stop was lunch at Lazare, a restaurant located inside a train station!




Bonded with Brazilian Youtuber Karol Pinheiro because she also has a cute Pomeranian! She has a tattoo of her dog Cookie on her arm! Cute!!




The food was amaaaazing!!




We had some free time to shop and look around Le Marais, a favorite shopping district in Paris.

Our meeting point was this café called Season and OMG the strawberry cheesecake was… THE. BEST. I wasn’t able to try the chocolate cake but I’m sure it was heaven, too. Try it for me if you’re ever in the area.




Children holding hands while crossing the street
Children holding hands while crossing the street

Isha and I went to this HUGE concept store called Empreintes and everything was eye candy from the minute we stepped inside.







There was a café, also by Season, on the 2nd floor
There was a café, also by Season, on the 2nd floor







We were only going to window shop but we passed by smaller shops and ended up buying a few items. Heehee. No major damage on our wallets though! High five, Isha!✨



Walking back to our meeting point, a young girl surprised us on the streets! She started talking to us in Tagalog! She said she reads my blog. You can imagine how much that warmed my heart even in the freezing cold.

She spoke in Tagalog but had a Parisian accent, it was very lovely. She grew up there and is currently studying. It was so nice meeting you, Anne Claire!:)

Hotel Providence at night
Hotel Providence at night

After a quick stop by our hotel to freshen up, we headed back to the pop-up store for the launch party!


The Dove Pop-Up Store at 108 rue Saint-Lazare will be open until December 18th!

Look at our matching head tilt!! Haha! Russia, Japan and Philippines :)

We also got our finished products from when we visited the store earlier that day!


The other girls and I were talking about what we would do with our personalized beauty bars. We agreed we weren’t going to use it because it’s just too pretty!! Plus, it’s a reminder of our wonderful Paris trip with Dove. Mine is currently displayed proudly in our guest bathroom. If any of my guests use it by accident, I will totally wash their mouths out with it. Hahaha, I’m kidding!! (Or am I?)

Thanks to this beautiful girl who helped engrave more than 300 bars that day!
Thanks to this beautiful girl who helped engrave more than 300 bars that day!
Took home some personalized ones for my sisters, too!
Took home some personalized ones for my sisters, too!

For my totally limited edition body scrub, I asked them to help me translate Time-Turner (as in Hermione Granger’s nifty gadget) et voila:



I’ve used it twice already and felt gorgeous and silky soft after showering. The hard part is that I don’t want to finish it… Ever! Haha!

I feel very lucky to have experienced this at all. I’m obsessed with Dove products and their brand’s key message of embracing real and unique beauty.

We tend to be critical of ourselves. There’s this pressure that we’re not where we should be in life. That we’re not as tall, as thin, or as fair-skinned as our peers. Yes, of course, we’re NOT like our peers – that’s because we are totally different people! That doesn’t mean one is necessarily better than the other.

When we spend time obsessing over who we are not, we end up wasting time. You can try changing who you are and how you look to fit whatever you think is the standard of beauty, but if everybody did that then we’d all just look the same. Where’s the fun in that?

There’s only one you in this world. You are your own limited edition. Now isn’t that beautiful?😉



(Read about Day 1 here)

Our second day in Paris started with a quick stop for tea at a cozy crafts shop along Rue Deguerry called Klin D’oeil. Everything in that place was so pretty, I just clicked away on my camera.





Klin D'oeil means Wink of the Eye
Klin D’oeil means Wink of the Eye













One part of the shop was transformed into a Dove gallery so we could look at some products offered exclusively in other countries.





You KNOW there's nothing in that mug. Hahaha I was assigned an "I HEART NEW YORK" mug so I thought I'd grab this one for photos.😂
You KNOW there’s nothing in that mug. Hahaha I was assigned an “I HEART NEW YORK” mug so I thought I’d grab this one for photos.😂



Japan is the only country that carries a facial care line by Dove. Jealous!!
Japan is the only country that carries a facial care line by Dove. Jealous!!
They gave us a care package!!
They gave us a care package!!
I got a personalized notebook!! Huhu <3
I got a personalized notebook!! Huhu <3

Then we all went to lunch down the street at a lovely restaurant called Tannat.




Crunchy mushroom with beschamel sauce and pink cauliflower. It was divine.
Crunchy mushroom with beschamel sauce and pink cauliflower. It was divine.



We split up into smaller groups and ours walked back to Klin D’oeil for a briefing with Dove Global’s VP, Sophie Galvani. She reminded us what Dove is all about. She showed us some campaign videos from the past and although I’d seen some of them in the past, it still struck a chord with me. I got a little emotional and I want to share these empowering videos with you in case you haven’t seen them yet. Get your tissues ready, girls.

Not a lot of women believe themselves to be beautiful.

Dove’s social mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up with a positive relationship with the way they look and help them reach their full potential.

When they choose women to be part of their campaigns, they choose women who have beautiful personalities emenating from within.

Your Hair, Your Choice

Okay, wipe away those tears of joy. Do you feel more beautiful now? I really do hope so!!💙

Dove is not just all talk. They have a self-esteem progam that has 20 million young people reached across 138 countries. They’ve been educating children about self-esteem since 2004 and I think that’s very important especially in today’s digital world where we keep comparing ourselves to everyone we see on Instagram. I’m just very proud to be an ambassador for such an amazing brand.

To further their point about being unique, we made some DIY pins for ourselves! We were taught by Helene and Julien of heju.fr – pls check out their DIY blog UGH IT’S SO PRETTY.



Here’s my pin:

Made a DIY pin back in Paris with the help of Helene and Julien of @hejublog 💙

A photo posted by Saab Magalona-Bacarro (@saabmagalona) on

Afterwards, we went to a couple of jewelry designers to get some personalized pieces!

First stop was Alice Hubert’s shop.

Alice Hubert
Alice Hubert




It was really inspiring to hear her talk about her humble beginnings. It was as if she was born to do this.













Loooooooooook <3<3
Loooooooooook <3<3

Jeweller number 2: OMBRE + CLAIRE




This was what I made hehe
This was what I made hehe










And then it was time to go to dinner, we did a bit of sightseeing on the way!

In English: Hangover
In English: Hangover
Le Louvre by night
Le Louvre by night

Dinner was at this super chic place called Chez Simone. It’s a yoga and boxing studio by day and restaurant by night. I KNOW, RIGHT??? Super cool.

I should get that S sign for my wall
I should get that S sign for my wall










It was the highlight of my 2nd day because I really bonded with the rest of the girls that night! It was so fun talking about our own countries and all the silly things from back home.



That’s it for day 2!! Stay tuned for day 3 :)


Four Days in Paris: Day 1

The Global team of Dove invited women from all over the world to experience their first ever Dove Pop-Up Store in Paris. “Why Paris?” some of us asked. “Because it’s the capital of beauty,” they answered. There’s no denying that. Here’s a photo journal of my first day in Paris. It was a free day for us. I checked into my room at Hotel Providence. It was a beautiful boutique hotel and no two rooms looked the same. It was in theme with Dove’s key message that everybody’s beauty is unique.


This mini-bar was made especially for the hotel.
This mini-bar was made especially for the hotel.





On the first day, I met Isha Andaya-Valles – editor-in-chief of Preview Magazine. She was the only other Filipina in the group so naturally, we bonded. We freshened up and headed out to lunch with some of our friends who lived in Paris.


I wonder where you can get nice things?
I wonder where you can get nice things?
Hey, moe!
Hey, moe!











We got lost looking for the restaurant. Apparently, we passed it thrice and hadn’t noticed it at all.

The sign was so tiny and semi-camouflaged!
The sign was so tiny and semi-camouflaged!

Semilla was recommended by our friend Erica Paredes. She’s been taking cooking classes in Paris for over a year now.


I shared my mushroom pasta with Isha
I shared my mushroom pasta with Isha
And she shared her scallops with me
And she shared her scallops with me
Lemon tart looking like Meringue Lights
Lemon tart looking like Meringue Lights
Mich Dulce also joined us for lunch!
Mich Dulce also joined us for lunch!

After a delicious meal and tons of chikahan, we said goodbye to Erica. Mich walked us to Monnaie de Paris, a museum that she highly recommended. The line was crazy long so we walked to The Louvre instead because Isha hadn’t been.


Di kami ready haha
Di kami ready haha


I don’t know what we were thinking because, of course, the line was even longer for The Louvre. It was alright because at least we got to take photos hehe




We went around the Tuilerie gardens instead. It was so cold so we were about to get some coffee when we saw a sign for hot wine. It tasted delicious, like hot spiced sangria.


Walked around some more with Isha towards the Centre Pompidou which we both had never experienced.


Giant meringue omg
Giant meringue omg
Cutie pie doggy
Cutie pie doggy
Heyyy that's not how you spell Saab haha
Heyyy that’s not how you spell Saab haha

But before entering the museum, Mich told us to meet her at Miznon – a very hip gourmet restaurant that serves pita sandwiches and more.



Sweet kamote! Not very photogenic haha but this was deeeeelish!
Sweet kamote! Not very photogenic haha but this was deeeeelish!



This was the best ratatouille I'd ever tasted in my whole life. Not kidding. Grabe siya.
This was the best ratatouille I’d ever tasted in my whole life. Not kidding. Grabe siya.
Who knew cauliflower could be this good??? It's boiled, grilled then drizzled in olive oil.
Who knew cauliflower could be this good??? It’s boiled, grilled then drizzled in olive oil.


Make sure to check it out when you’re there, it’s right beside the famous L’As du Fallafel. We said goodnight to Mich before heading to Centre Pompidou where we were not allowed to take photos (sadly) but we got in for free! I guess because it was a Sunday?



Being in the midst of works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, et al was very humbling, to say the least. It was mind-blowing, to say the least.

I snuck a picture with my phone because I am truly Pinoy lelz
I snuck a picture with my phone because I am truly Pinoy lelz

By the time the museum closed at 9PM, both Isha and I were dead-tired. We took an Uber back to our hotel and passed out. We were very tired but also very excited for the days to come! Check back tomorrow for Day 2 of my four days in Paris:)

P.S. The not-so-great photos were just taken with our phones in case you were wondering!!


Osaka: A Photo Diary

Some shots from our trip to Osaka last month


Jim and I landed in Osaka pretty late at night, met up with our friend Kyle who got there a couple of days earlier and the four of us had a very late dinner along Shinsaibashi. I can’t remember what the place is called but it’s open until pretty late and we ate there twice.




Checked in at our AIRBNB which was just a few blocks away

Photo from Airbnb
Photo from Airbnb

It was a cozy apartment but big enough for 4 people. Our other friend Enzo stayed for 2 nights. Great location, too. Click here if you wanna check it out.

The next day we set out to go around Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori





Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Passed by a pet shop and had to drop by
Passed by a pet shop and had to drop by
Would have taken more photos but they said it wasn't allowed huhu
Would have taken more photos but they said it wasn’t allowed huhu
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle




Best place to buy sneakers! There's a ton of ABC MART branches around Japan.
Best place to buy sneakers! There’s a ton of ABC MART branches around Japan.


A lot of tourists use the Glico Man as a spot for meet ups. "Let's meet by the Glico Man!" It's right by the bridge to Dotonbori
A lot of tourists use the Glico Man as a spot for meet ups. “Let’s meet by the Glico Man!” It’s right by the bridge to Dotonbori
Dotonbori is where you must go to eat!!
Dotonbori is where you must go to eat!!


We had conveyor belt sushi, of course.





We also ate at Ichiran twice while we were there. Wild talaga ramen dun, friends.
We also ate at Ichiran twice while we were there. Wild talaga ramen dun, friends.



sup fam
sup fam


My love
My love



Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle

The famed Pablo cheesecakes — SO YUMMY





Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle

Funniest thing while I was trying on a sweater from Puma, they asked me to wear this bag over my head so my makeup wouldn’t transfer onto their clothes. I was also asked to take off my shoes before entering the dressing room


I no longer have photos of the following days because Kyle borrowed my memory card. He shot a music video for Cheats and I promise you, it’s worth it. Can’t wait for you guys to see it!! I also thought we weren’t allowed to bring cameras to Summer Sonic. Turns out they don’t check your bags at all. My tip if you’re going to the music festival next year: bring your own booze and line up early for the bathrooms because you may spend 40 minutes in line! Oh, and don’t forget to wear sunblock!! RADIOHEAD WAS FIIIIRE.